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Thomas Pollard, M.D.

Yale University


Tom Pollard graduated from Pomona College in 1964 with honors in Chemistry and Zoology. At Harvard Medical School he began to investigate cellular motility. As a faculty member at Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins Medical School, the Salk Institute and Yale, his research group has focused on the molecular basis of cellular motility and cytokinesis. His group discovered and characterized proteins that produce forces for cells to move. They combined microscopy, biochemistry, biophysics, molecular biology and mathematical modeling to provide the quantitative evidence required to formulate and test a detailed molecular explanation for how the assembly of actin filaments stimulated by Arp2/3 complex produces forces for cellular movements and endocytosis. His group is now using the same approaches to learn how fission yeast cells divide in two during cytokinesis.

In addition to research and teaching, Pollard chaired his departments at the Johns Hopkins Medical School and Yale, served as President of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and recently was Dean of the Graduate School at Yale. He is now Sterling Professor at Yale. Pollard served as president of two scientific societies and in leadership positions at the National Academy of Sciences.

Pollard’s honors include the Gairdner International Award, E.B. Wilson Award from the American Society for Cell Biology and membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine.

Both of Tom’s children are computational biologists: Katie is a professor at UCSF/Gladstone Institute and Dan is a faculty member at Western Washington University.

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